Turning Philanthropy into Service: GSI

by Josh Ham

The Global Service Initiative (GSI) is a program and fraternal tradition that is unmatched within the realm of Greek Life. GSI is the cause behind each of the North Dakota Chapter of Delta Upsilon’s philanthropy events. Every single member of Delta Upsilon contributes to this greater good throughout their time as an undergraduate. This, however, is not what makes GSI stand alone among Greek Life philanthropy. Not only do DU’s work to fund this initiative, but each year a select few members take it a step further and donate their time and energy as well, flying to Jamaica to put the funds raised by our international fraternity to good use. For a week straight, these members work from the early morning and into the evening, constructing school buildings for the less fortunate. Like many other aspects of our fraternal commitments, Delta Upsilon works diligently to help those in need with their charitable acts and truly live up to their founding principles that they swore upon when becoming a member.

This year, the North Dakota Chapter of Delta Upsilon had the distinct honor of sending two of its members, Taylor Flaata ’24 and Het Mehta ’24 on a Global Service Initiative trip to Negril, Jamaica, working on the foundation and walls of school buildings for an underserved population. This trip was unique in that it fell over the University of North Dakota’s spring break, adding to the sacrifices already made by these two individuals to help those most in need. One of the greatest aspects of giving, however, is that it is a two way street, which remains a positive byproduct of this chapter’s dedication to public service. Here, we pride ourselves on “building better men” or rather, taking good men and helping guide them into great adults. Paramount of this aspect of volunteer work on this trip was the gaining of perspective.

Members were using only materials and equipment that are available in the region to construct full fledged buildings, which means mixing cement by hand and using only basic tools. This turns a project that would take days back home in the US into a week-long endeavor. This widening of these young men’s perspectives is not limited to the manual labor they did. While in Negril, members had ample opportunity to gain new perspectives on a social level as well, both in their interactions with locals as well as other members of Delta Upsilon’s many US and international chapters. While Taylor and Het left home with the intention of selfless work, and expecting nothing in return, you can rest assured that the two friends did not return home empty handed, and in asking either of them, they would jump to say they would do it all again if given the opportunity.